Emika Games, the solo developer behind the first-person psychological thriller Summer of '58, is taking an indefinite leave from game development. Their reason for this is due to their game being refunded to the point where they weren't able to make money off of the game.
Summer of '58 is a short but enjoyable horror game where players take control of a video blogger examining an abandoned Soviet camp that shut down after a mass murder occurred 50 years ago. Unfortunately, this may be Emika Games' last release. In a tweet sent out yesterday, Emika Games announced that they are "leaving game development for an indefinite time to collect my thoughts." Emika Games states that the reason for this is because too many people exploiting Steam's two-hour refund policy has resulted in them not making any money from their game, even from players who gave positive reviews. They also state that their next game, From Day to Day, "will not see the light of day in the near future."
Friends! Thank you for your support! I'm leaving game development for an indefinite time to collect my thoughts. pic.twitter.com/q93NxWjyUI— EMIKA_GAMES (@EmikaGames) August 26, 2021
Steam's two-hour refund policy, which lets players return a game within two weeks if they're played less than two hours, is a well-meaning system. Maybe that new game you've bought isn't working with your computer or isn't as good as you expected? But with short games, this poses a problem, as some unscrupulous customers may buy the game, complete it, and refund the game. We've seen this sort of problem with Steam's system earlier this year with the short blinking-powered narrative game Before Your Eyes. In April, the designer called out a player who left a review calling the game "amazing" yet refunded the game for being 1.5 hours long.
Summer of '58 is available on Steam.